Monday, 5 December 2011

How much is it worth?

In my position as "The bloke in the office who knows a bit about music", I was today approached by a colleague who told me that whilst clearing his loft out at the weekend he find a stack of his old vinyl.  "If I give you a list", he asked, "could you tell me how much its worth".
"OK" said I, but don't go expecting a fortune.  We're really talking extra pocket money at a Car Boot Sale, rather than a feature spot on The Antiques Roadshow.

He didn't believe me.

Protests included:
"I've got the original Band Aid single" - so have I mate, and 3 million others (in fact, I think I've got 6 copies (for some reason?))
"Theres a couple of Beatles albums" - from the description they sound like 'Rock n Roll Music' Volumes 1 & 2 on Music For Pleasure
"What about 'Thriller', its an original copy so must be worth something, what with Michael Jackson dying and his doctor being convicted"

Every half-hour or so he'd come past offering a new "surefire money-spinner" (final offering was an original pressing (his words not mine) of 'Bat Out Of Hell').

I remained composed and politely said: "Bring me the list tomorrow, and I'll have a look".

I'm expecting the usual Charity Shop staples of Paul Young - No Parlez and The Cars - Heartbeat City.
Who knows, might even uncover a diamond in the rough.

Bugs me though - just because records are old, why are people convinced that it must be worth a mint?

EDIT: "I have in my hand a piece of paper" - its taken a couple of days, but I now have the list.
Pin Money or Pension Plan? - You Decide

Link to List: Records Found in Loft

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Amazon Marketplace

With the loss of local Record Shops, and the on that does remain (HMV) carrying next to no back catalogue stock and believing that its prime competitors are Tesco (other supermarkets are available) and Dixons (other electrical retailers are available), my entertainment media shopping (CDs, DVDs & Books) is conducted on Amazon (other on-line ... (you get the idea)).

Replacing the scrappy bit of paper with various albums and films scribbled on it, is the Amazon Wish List  (this is not so useful when visiting shops or record fairs because that mean I have to rely on memory).

The Wish List is regularly updated and contains those newly released (or soon to be released) items I want to get my grubby little mits on, 'gap fillers' in the collection and stuff that I looked at and thought "Hmm ... that might be interesting"
This latter group contains CDs by artists I may have heard 1 or 2 tracks from, films/TV programmes/documentaries that I can vaguely remember having seen bits of, or books by authors I know or on subject matter that I'm interested in.

Amazon shopping is a (normally) monthly ritual where I will plunder the Wish List and stock up on those items I forgot I actually wanted (refers back to the "relying on memory" statement above).
When buying on-line I have a set Budget (ie the amount I have been told I MUST NOT exceed).
The Basket is loaded, but I've still got £2.12 of my allowed expense to go.
What do I do now?
Save the £2.12?
Willfully spend over the "agreed" amount?
Find something cheap that I don't really want?

No - this is where Amazon Marketplace comes in.
Look just below the headline price.  "Used & New from £0.01".  OK, so it costs £1.26 (CDs/DVDs) or £2.80 (Books) for Postage, but its still often cheaper.

My last visit to Amazon left me with the previously stated £2.12, so I took a chance on "Introducing Harry Chapin".  I knew (as does just about everyone else) "Cats In The Cradle" but have never knowingly heard anything else.
Used Price = £1.09.  Plus the £1.26 Postage equals total charge £2.35 (I'm sure the household budget can stand a 23p deficit)

Received it Saturday morning and have played it 3 or 4 times already - you can probably guess that I quite like it

Its always worth taking a punt at these prices, you never know what you'll uncover.

Harry Chapin - W.O.L.D

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Calling people/things by their proper name

As a kid, I was presented a meal of Steak & Kidney Pie and told what I had on my plate was Snake & Pigmy Pie.  This is my earliest memory of things not being called by their real name.
Throughout my childhood, and into adulthood (apparently) the habit of renaming stuff has remained.

Demis Roussos = Demisis Roosis
Ed Milliband = Steve Milliband
Heston Blumenthal = Heston Services or Heston BloominEck
Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall = Hugh Fearnley-Whittingham-Twittingham
Barry Manilow = Barely Manenough or Mandy Barilow or Merry Bandylegs

Britains Got Talent = Britains Got NO Talent
I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here = I'm A Non-Entity, Get Me A Career

Waterloo Road = Grange Hill for Grown Ups

Aberdaron = Abu Dhabi
Lav = Meeting with Mr Brown
Alcoholic Drink = Beveration
Peanut Butter = Peanotre Botre

Its not spoonerisms.  Nor is it gibberish, its just a case of "my own words in my own world".

Right - I'm off for a pint of earwig & a tosty chesanam sanger with chippings

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Strange Sequencing (purely by chance)

Played a CD compilation from a couple of years ago earlier.
When making these compilations I generally try to sequence them in some sort of logical order (remember the advise on "how to make the perfect mix tape" in High Fidelity), but other times it just track a load of tracks onto a disc in any order.

This CD was one of the latter type, but a section of the track listing (in retrospect) had a strange storyline to it:

Ozzy Osbourne - You Said It All
Alvin Stardust - Jealous Mind
Beatles - Help
New York Dolls - Looking For A Kiss
Noisettes - Never Forget You
Tears For Fears - Mad World
Manic Street Preachers - From Despair To Where
Jam - Great Depression
Oceanic - Insanity
Dubstar - Not So Manic Now

There's a story there (possibly even a full blown concept album?)

To illustrate the random nature of the CD, these tracks are immediately preceded and followed by:
(pre) Sky - Toccata
(post) Tribe Of Toffs - John Kettley (is A Weatherman)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Hello, Hello, They're Back Again

Whilst reluctantly wandering around the supermarket today, what started as quick visit to purchase some forgotten essentials turned into £70 worth of "other stuff we might need" (damn you 'Buy 1 Get 2 Free' offers - I now have a fridge with 3 blocks of Cheddar Cheese in it.  I din't even realise we needed one block of cheese!)).
During navigation of the Crisps & Snacks aisle, I noticed that Golden Wonder Crisps are back on shelves in fairly large quantities.
(I'm sure they've been there for a couple of months, but had not really noticed).

Growing up in the late 70s/early 80s, there were 3 main suppliers of Crisps & Snacks: Golden Wonder, KP & Smiths (4 if you count supermarket own brands)

In addition to Potato Crisps:
Golden Wonder produced Wotsits, Ringos, and Nik Naks
(Nostalgic Trivia: Golden Wonder also produced the Pot Noodle)
KP gave us Skips & Hula Hoops
and Smiths sold Chipsticks, Quavers, Monster Munch & Twists

In the mid-80s, Smiths was subsumed into Walkers.  Golden Wonder now had stronger competition and would ultimately lose out in "The Crisp Wars".

Competition in business is a good thing.  The purpose of the Monopolies & Mergers Commission is to ensure that competition, and therefore consumer choice, remains in the market place.

The one big problem with Walkers rampant march to Crisp Supremacy was ...
they got bag colours wrong.

As anyone knows, the standard is:
  • Ready Salted - Dark Blue
  • Cheese & Onion - Green
  • Salt & Vinegar - Light Blue
  • Beef - Brown
This is, I understand, the recognised standard for crisp bag identification.
Apart from Beef Flavour, Walkers completely ignored the code.
(Smiths didn't get it completely correct - the Ready Salted flavour Chipsticks was Red, but Salt & Vinegar remained blue (therefore 1 correct + 1 wrong = zero, equilibrium of the universe is maintained).

Golden Wonder remained in competition, primarily in the Snack sector, due to the all-conquering corn-based snack of greatness: Wotsits (available in both Cheesy & Beef varieties).

In 2002, Walkers, backed by the fizzy drink behemoth that is Pepsi, acquired the Wotsits brand from Golden Wonder to enhance their own product range, replacing the frankly dodgy tasting Cheetos.
Golden Wonder limped on and its crisps disappeared from the supermarket shelves.

Now it seems it once again has a strong presence in the Crisps & Snacks aisle.
And, perhaps most importantly, it is using the correctly coloured bags for its potato crisps

And whilst I'm here, wallowing in the nostalgia of the 1980s Potato-based Snacks Battles, the attached video show some more 1980s products that are no more, but may well return as the result of some sort of 'ironic-retro-exploit-the-1980s-and-boost-flagging-sales' future marketing campaign.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Noel Gallghers High Flying Birds

Bought Noels latest offering a couple of weeks ago, and its been on fairly regular playing ever since (it has been the soundtrack to the washing up nearly every evening).

I liked it on first hearing, which often means that by hearing number 3 I will start to find fault and want to listen to something else.  No, its still playing and getting better each time (I'm sure it will plateau in the next week, but I'm not getting fed up with it yet).

Is it possible to be objective about this album without referring to Oasis?
It's difficult, so lets get that out of the way: 
The sound and feel is similar to 'Don't Believe The Truth' and one of the songs even sounds much the same (compare 'Death Of You & Me' and 'Importance of Being Idle'). And 'If I Had A Gun' on first hearing is one chord away from being 'Wonderwall'

This album bears all the signature traits of Noel Gallagher:
1. He's not scared of a rhyme, no matter how banal it may be seem
2. He just can't help inviting us to "hold on" (which he does in the first track ("Everybodys On The Run")
3. His obvious love/respect/debt to The Beatles remains apparent (note the "Get Back"-y sound in the introduction of "(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach")

Other than the two Oasis-like song mentioned above, "(I Wanna Live A Dream in my) Record Machine"" is a fantastic title, but doesn't really hold together for an entire song, and "Stop The Clocks" strays into Coldplay territory and is therefore probably a banker for a performance from a Festival stage.

These aren't criticisms, just minor quibbles which in no way affect the enjoyment of the album.

Earlier in 2011, the Gallagher the Younger's new band released their debut album.  This too was a good album, and is still getting listened to.

Listening to them back-to-back is an interesting exercise.
There's no escaping the fact that these two albums represent both sides of Oasis.
Beady Eye give us the bombastic stadium rock, with a touch of acousticcy stuff, and a bit of psychedelia.
High Flying Birds represents the more slowed down acoustic-type thing (usually including the phrase "hold on").

An Oasis Double Album? Yes
Two seperate albums? Yes
They are both a double set and two single entities, enjoy them however you wish.

On the whole, both albums are great (HFB is, I think, the betterof the two), but you leave both with the words to 'Acquiesce' running through your head.
 Beady Eye misses Noel's guitar.
High Flying Birds misses Liams voice in places ("Everybodys On The Run" (possibly), "I Wanna Live The Dream" and "Stop The Clocks").

Maybe the do "need each other", but they've still managed to independently produce two of the best albums of 2011.

When it comes time to produce my list of "Albums of 2011" (which will happen, because I'm a bloke and I like lists) both of these will undoubtedly feature.

I wanted to put a video for "Stop The Clocks", but couldn't find it on YouTube, so this one will have to do ("AKA ... What A Life")

And to represent Beady Eye: "The Beat Goes On"

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Food Remains The Same

Just been shopping.  Nothing unusual about that - most people do.
The weekly ritual of driving to a supermarket and wandering aimlessly around a cavernous warehouse/aircraft hanger pushing a trolley, and generally being bored with the whole escapade (or maybe thats just me).
Anyway, among the usual purchases of much needed groceries and homewares (aka Burgers, Booze and Bogroll), my purchases included items which have been bought for many years, and will continue to be bought for the foreseeable future.

In short, much of my shopping reminds me that my diet has not really changed since about the age of 12!

Peanut Butter (Crunchy - has to be Crunchy, not the sub-standard Smooth variety)
Sandwich Spread
Super Noodles
Crinkle Cut Chips
Fish Fingers
Rice Krispies
Spaghetti Hoops
Alphabetti Spaghetti
Tunnocks Tea Cakes
Butterscotch Flavour Angel Delight

And whats wrong with that lot as the cornerstone of kitchen cupboard provisions?

Freddie Flintoff recently appeared on BBC's Saturday Kitchen.  When asked what his favourite meal was (his 'Food Heaven'), the reply was: Fish Fingers, Chips & Beans - Top Man.

Right, I'm off for a Fish Finger & Salad Cream sandwich - all washed down with a pint of Ribena

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Did they really say that?

There was a time when records would be banned or playing restricted, sometimes for the most innocuous phrase or interpretation (Remember Mike Read vs Frankie Goes To Hollywood?)
In these more enlightened times in which we live (whether you consider it progress or not), many of these previously banned records are now played freely on radio and TV.

What follows is a list ("brain dump") of songs beard recently which made me think:
"How did that get passed the censor?"
  • Rolling Stones - Start Me Up
    "You make a dead man come"
  • Jam - Thats Entertainment
    "Pissing down with rain on a boring Wednesday"
    "Lights going out and a kick in the balls"
  • Jam - Funeral Pyre
    "Pissing themselves laughing"
  • Jam - Beat Surrender
    "That bullshit is bullshit"
    (A Radio Edit exists with the words changed to "Rubbish is Rubbish" (can't confirm - never heard it), and on Top Of The Pops, Paul Weller reportedly mimed "bullfrog is bullfrog")
  • Jam - Just Who Is The Five O'Clock Hero?
    "Hello darling I'm home again, covered in shit & aches and pains"
  • Specials - Nite Klub
    "I won't dance in a club like this, all the girls are slags and the beer tastes just like piss"
  • Who - Who Are You
    "Who The fuck are you?"
  • Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side
    "Even when she was giving head"
  • Diana Ross - Chain Reaction
  • "You make me tremble when your hand goes lower"
  • Small Faces - Here Comes The Nice
    "He knows what i want, hes got what i need, Hes always there, if i need some speed"
  • Divinyls
    "When I think about you I touch myself"
  • Sid Vicious - My Way
    "You cunt, I'm not a queer"
  • Pink Floyd - Money
    "Don't give me that do goody good bullshit"
  • Alanis Morrisette - You Oughtta Know
    "Is she perverted like me, Would she go down on you in a theatre"
    and later in the same verse
    "Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?"
    (in fairness I usually hear versions which have the offending word edited (just! ie "fu" ... (silence) ... (song restarts))

These tracks fall into the "Ambiguous" category, meaning they could be interpreted as 'of questionable content':
  • Beautiful South - Perfect 10
    Two verses sung by Jacqui Abbott:
    "When he's at my gate, with a big fat 8
    You wanna see the smile on my face
    And even at my door, with a poor poor 4
    There ain't no man can replace"
    "If he's extra large well I'm in charge
    I can work this thing on top
    If he's XXL well what the hell
    Every penny don't fit the slot"
  • Stranglers - Golden Brown
    Subject Matter = Heroin (likewise The Las - There She Goes Again)
  • The Shamen - Ebeneezer Goode
    "Eezer Goode", which is noting more than an abbreviated version of the song subjects name.  But hang on - it could also be a to the apparent greatness of Ecstasy ("Es are Good")
  • Lindisfarne - Meet Me On The Corner
    Is this about a meeting your drug dealer, or perhaps prostitution, or perhaps none of them and its just a simple tale of northern folk meeting at a pre-agreed spot before heading down the pub
  • Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper
    "Pull up to my bumper baby,
    In your long black limousine,
    Pull up to my bumper baby,
    Drive it in between. "
    "Pull up to it, don't drive through it,
    Back it, up twice, now that fits nice,
    Grease it, spray it, let me lubricate it,
    Pull up to my bumper baby. "

    Whats that about I wonder? see also the majority of the AC/DC songbook

In an attempt to get continued airplay, bands have resorted to 'cleaned up' versions of album tracks 
(or "De-Fucked Versions" as I refer to them):
  • Jam - Modern World
    Album = "I don't give two fucks about your review"
    Single = "I don't give a damn about your review"
  • Stiff Little Fingers - Price Of Admission
    Album = "Just fuck 'em and leave 'em"
    Single =  "Just love 'em and leave 'em"
  • Radiohead - Creep
    Album = "I wish I was special, you're so fucking special"
    Single = "I wish I was special, you're so very special"
  • Beautiful South - Don't Marry Her
    Album = "She'll grab your sweaty bollocks, Then slowly raise her knee, Don't marry her, fuck me"
    Single = "She'll grab your Sandra Bullocks, Then slowly raise her knee, Don't marry her, have me"

However, there are some tunes which will probably never be heard on radio/TV any time in the near future
  • Sex Pistols - Bodies
  • Anti Nowhere League - So What
  • Ian Dury - Plaistow Patricia
  • Wayne County - Fuck Off
  • Dead Kennedys - Too Drunk To Fuck
  • Buzzcocks - Oh Shit
  • Jarvis Cocker - Cunts Are Still Running The World

There is of course the potential for a mis-hearing which can hide the offending words (I understand that this was the principle employed by the BBC when considering the "advisory nature" of songs: If it's not wholly clear, then you can probably get away with it

Mis-heard Lyrics is a whole other area of amusement

  • Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
    "I keep 2 pigs in containers"
  • Chicory Tip - Son Of My Father
    "Moogling & a-googling, I was free from drugs"
  • Labi Siffre - Something Inside So Strong
    "You hide behind walls of cherry coke"
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising
    "There's a bathroom on the right"
  • Queen - Bohemain Rhapsody
    "Spare him his life from the pork sausages"
  • Toto - Africa
    "I left my brains down in Africa"
  • Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze
    "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy"
This is undoubtedly the most famous misheard lyric - so much so it gives its name to a site cataloguing such aural mis-appropriations

To finish (as seems traditional - always finish with a song), I don't think there is any double-meaning or ambiguity about this song.  Its just the tale of a ballroom promoter and his fame & notoriety for organising the best dances in the local area:

AC/DC - Big Balls

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I Remember That - Lets Have A Look On YouTube

Oh Google, YouTube, and the multitude of other sites on the interweb.  There will always be an on-line archive to feed our nostalgia.
Remember a sitcom or Top Of The Pops performance from your youth?  A quick Google (yes - Google is a Verb (apparently)) or key word search on YouTube and you'll be watching in seconds and either be happy you've found it as you remember it, or slightly miffed because you've just realised whats in your memory bears no resemblance to what actually happened.

One search leads to another and you can be stuck there for hours.

Not everything is available. Some things I haven't been able to find:

  • Spitting Image: Alistair Burnett reading a News Report about Uranus and the sudden change of name ("Why is everyone now calling it Uranus, and not Uranus, which has been making schoolboys giggle for years?").  The report finishes with a preview of pictures from Jupiters new moon "Boom-holay" (or Bumhole as it said on the screen)
  • Theres Only One Brian Moore - Bob Mills presented ITV late night 70s Football Show.  Each week he'd have a couple of 70s players on and they'd watch a match from The Big Match archive.  Sounds boring?  Well, ordinarily it would be, but with players like Rodney Marsh, Stan Bowles, George Best and Duncan McKenzie the 'chat element' was a bit more than: "Obviously, we were over the moon".
    One show contained footage of Duncan McKenzie playing for Everton.  At Half Time, the cameras followed the Everton team into the dressing room.  The first thing they did when they got in there?  Spark up a cigarette.  Proper 1970s athletes!
  • Two memorable episodes of the BBC Science Documentary programe QED.
    One featured Steve Davis discussing the science of snooker ("Riddles of Ball and Cue"), and the other was presented by Kenny Everett discussing/explaining how the Universe works ("Before Your Time")
  • Trippers Day - Leonard Rossiters ITV sitcom.  Ran for one series in 1984.  Leonard Rossiter sadly died between the broadcast of Episodes 2 & 3, obviously meaning there could be no more series.  It was brought back 2 years later with Bruce Forsyth, and re-titled Slingers Day.  Bits of Slingers Day are on YT, but Trippers Day is not
  • Wurzels singing "I Shot JR" on Cheggers Plays Pop - Don't know why I remember this implicity.  Maybe I dreamt it?  (Cheggers Plays Pop episode archive confirms that The Wurzels were on CPP a couple of times, and once performed the song "I Hate JR")
  • Dave Wolfe TV Special  - Dave Wolfe won ITVs Search For A Star in 1979.  In early 1980, as part of the reward, he had his own TV Special.  I don't honestly remember much about this apart from a sketch based on The Multi Coloured Swap Shop.
    The set was correct, right down to the messy desk and the none-more-80s Trimphones.  Dave Wolfe even looked like Noel Edmonds, which was fairly uncommon for a late 70s/early 80s Impressions  (Remember how the facade was dropped at the end of 'The Mike Yarwood Show' when he announced "And This Is Me"?).
    Anyway, the one bit I can remember is someone phoning Dave/Noel with a swap request.  He had an Action Man with one arm and wanted to swap it for a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.  At the age of 9, I found this immensely funny, and obviously memorable as I'm still talking about it now.
  • Another ITV Special, around Christmas 83/84.  No idea who was on it, what it was called, but only remember the "comedy band" they had on.  Their theme tune was: "I'm Bernie, I'm Barry, I'm Scott", and then the camera panned to the bass player who said nothing.  What else do I remember about this?  The drummer looked a bit like Robin Driscoll, but a search on IMDB reveals nothing relevant.  The final song they did was a collection of Christmas Carols with the words changed for comedy benefit (the only one I recall was "We Three Kings Of Leyton Orient Are")
  • TV Advert from about 1984 for Allinsons Wholemeal Bread ('Breads Better Wi Nowt Taken Out').  This particular advert contained a memorable jingle.  Memorable, because I can still sing it:"Not, nowt, not a lot, zilch,
    thats the big O,
    not a penny, not a jot, not the tiniest spot,
    nothing whatsoever taken out"
  • Barron Knights - One of the first (if not THE first) albums I ever owned was Knights Of Laughter by The Barron Knights.  The album contained 12 songs, 2 of which ('Ballad of Frank Spencer' & '1358 Into Beetroot Song') I have subsequently found, but 'Couldn't Spell !!**?!' and 'Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm' remain undiscovered.
  • Sweet Addiction - All I Wanted To Do.  Bought this single in 1990 for (I think 15p from the Basingstoke Woolworths "Bargain Bin Of Old Kack We Want To Get Shot Of".  Good song, sound fits well with the Gun/Quireboys/Thunder/Black Crowes type stuff of the time.  Just wanted to hear it again without finding the vinyl copy.
    (Note: Recently found it on Soundcloud, which just goes to prove that there are other options apart from YouTube (I knew that anyway, but I wouldn't be able to waste your time reading this)
  • Senseless Things - Got It At The Delmar.  From the 1991 Album "First Of Too Many".  Was trying to explain to a friend who The Senseless Things were and was going to send a link to the video.  That option didn't work.

Not YouTube, but omissions in the database.  According to the website the following Films are "Coming Soon"
  • That Summer (1979, Ray Winstone)
  • Breaking Glass (1980, Hazel O'Connor)
  • Let It Be (1970, The Beatles)
Are they? I wait with baited breath because I (grumpily) doubt any of the above will see the light of day on a legitimate DVD any time soon.

Monday, 12 September 2011

I will not buy this record - it is scratched

Within the vinyl collection are a number of items with small and (sometimes) annoying scratches, causing minor jumps when played.
Some could be resolved by resting a 2p piece on the arm of the record player, others were of no consequence really.  But some songs were given a slight vocal remix.

For example, my copy of the Ramones Leave Home has a little jump at the start of 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker'.
The lyrics as I heard them went:

Well the kids are all hopped up and ready to go
They're ready to go now
They've got their surfb

And they're going to the discotheque a go go
But she just couldn't stay
She had to break away
Well New York City really has it all
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Sheena is a punk rocker
Sheena is a punk rocker
Sheena is a punk rocker now

So for several years, I'd never heard the end of the first line, second line or start of the third line of this song .
My brain is still confused by listening to the proper version with the missing words included - it just sounds wrong.

Why have I got vinyl with scratches on?
Most of the stuff I purchased between the ages of 14 and 22 was mostly from second hand shops, jumble sales, car boot sales.  You tend to get funny looks if you return a record to a jumble sale hoping for money returned or a price-equivalent exchange.

Vinyl was always my preferred format, as opposed to cassettes (the only real opposition format at the time).
In fact I clung to vinyl for as long as possible, not really migrating to CD until about 1994 (and then finally got to hear the proper version of 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker')

Still buy vinyl, usually from Charity Shops or Record Fairs, but I've run out of storage space for it.
My office/spare room has piles of vinyl awaiting cataloguing and filing, but with nowhere to put the stuff.
Will it stop me buying anymore?  I very much doubt it.

Incidentally, the title of this post is (apparently) Hungarian to English translation for "I would like to buy some cigarettes".
The Hungarian phrase "Please can you direct me to the railway station" is translated as ...

This will explain:

Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Holiday From Hayling

Just returned from 5 days holiday in Hayling Island.
Have done the usual: Grown a beard, drunk too much and generally adopted the demeanor of Jack Dee on Downers
5 days in a caravan, 2 miles from the nearest pub (which was usually closed) and kept awake at night by idiots who can't be bothered to let their dogs in the van at night, hence everyone kept awake for a good (bad) couple of hours listening to the whine of the hound of the Baskervilles.

Just my opinion, but a holiday never really feels like a holiday if you have to cook all your own food, do all your own washing up and make your own bed.  Am I lazy? Probably, but I'm 41 and just want to relax on holiday, and ,yes, be lazy.

Visited Chichester on one day, but didn't see Keith Richards out shopping in the city centre, but did see quite a few Saturday Kids, who'd obviously saved up their money for a holiday to Selsey Bill or Bracklesham Bay.

Every place I visit in the UK inspires thought to well known/famous local residents:
  • Birmingham - Trevor Francis & Jasper Carrott (very nearly asked to leave the Hotel for saying "They ain't got no cowing Bovril" in an attempted Brummie accent)
  • Coventry - The Specials, Pete Waterman, the song 'Concrete Jungle' and The New Fast Atomic Daffodills (I was convinced The New FADS were from Coventry - got that one wrong!)
  • Oxford - Radiohead & Robert Maxwell
  • Southampton - Mick Channon, Lawrie McMenemy & Kaliber non-alcoholic Lager
  • Brentford - Stan Bowles & Nick Lowe
No idea why, but for some unknown reason (actually it was probably something to do with reading Ian MacLagan's autobiography) my brain now permanently associates Hayling Island with Ronnie Lane.

Spent a long time revisiting The Small Faces & The Faces since my return.
Slim Chance (Ronnie Lanes band after leaving The Faces) are now somewhat forgotten.  Shame, because it is well worth listening to.
The track below ('How Come') - sort of The Faces meets McGuiness Flint - Enjoy!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

In a Parallel Universe

Ignoring the time factor (which in an alternate reality may be irrelevant anyway), what if actors, comedians, TV Presenters etc were musicians instead.

Windsor Davies Group
Rik Mayall's Bluesbreakers
George Cole & The Commotions
Mr T & The MGs
Huey Edwards & The News
Nick Ross & The Supremes
Ben Fogle Five
Bruce Forsyth & The Range
Frankie Spencer & The Four Seasons
Ian Beale & The Blockheads
Alan Partridge Project
Kathleen Turner Overdrive
The Crazy World Of Arthur Lowe
The Jenny Bond Organisation
Emerson, Lake and Patsy Palmer
Tom Baker & The Heartbreakers
Jack Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich
The Ken Clarke Five
Kirsty Young and Crazy Horse
Bruce Forsyth & The E Street Band
Tom & Jerry & The Pacemakers
The Jimi Krankie Experience

Lead Singer of The Specials - Stuart Hall
Lead Singer of Transvision Vamp - Sid James
Lead Singer of Iron Maiden - David Dickinson
Lead Singer of Muse - David Bellamy
Lead Singer of The Smiths - Neil Morrissey
Lead Singer of Eels - Kenny Everett
Lead Singer of Teardrop Explodes - Julian Clary
Lead Singer Of The Velvet Underground - Oliver Reed

Edit: Some additions have been made since the original posting.  These additional items were "nicked" from suggestions on The Word Magazine blog

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Musical Connections

I awoke this morning with Uriah Heep's 'Gypsy' stuck in my head.  As is usual when songs are embedded in the brain when I wake up, the first thing I do (after breakfast of coffee & a cigarette) is to play the CD containing the tune (in this case 'The Very Best Of Uriah Heep').

It was at this point I developed my objective for the days musical back-drop.

All songs listened to MUST be related to the previous, but cannot be by the same band/singer.

Today's musical journey was:

  • Uriah Heep - Gypsy (Heeps drummer was Lee Kerslake, leading to:)
  • Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Know (Guitarist on Blizzard Of Ozz was Randy Rhoads, leading to:)
  • Quiet Riot - Metal Health (who covered 'Cum On Feel The Noize', leading to:)
  • Slade - We'll Bring The House Down (who had 3 singles enter the chart at number 1, leading to:)
  • Jam - Man In The Cornershop (Bass Player Bruce Foxton later joined Stiff Little Fingers, leading to:)
  • Stiff Little Fingers - Guitar & Drum (The SLF album 'Flags & Emblems' includes the track 'Its A Long Way To Paradise From Here' which has a harmonica track played by Lee Brilleaux, leading to:)
  • Dr Feelgood - Roxette
At this point, I stopped creating tenuous connections and just stayed listening to Dr Feelgood - which is a worthwhile way to spend any Saturday afternoon

More fun with Musical Connections: Six Degrees of Black Sabbath


The following phrases can lead to some misunderstanding/confusion:
  • Flash Photography - News reports announce that the following story contains flash photography.  I wait and watch - all the photography I see looks to be pretty standard.  I son't see any clever techniques or methods being used
  • Everyone has a book inside them - Really? Does that mean people go round eating books.  And does that mak a library an All You Can Eat Buffet?
  • Humble Beginnings - Many actors, musicians, artists or authors state that they came from Humble Beginnings.  Where is this village?
  • Pepsi vs Coke - How can you compete against a company whose advertising slogan is 'The Real Thing'
  • Thorpe Park - How much more British can you get.  A visit to Thorpe Park (or any Theme Park) involves an awful lot of queuing.  In general, you will queue for anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour for 90 seconds  of "adrenaline fueled thrills".  You then unhook yourself from the seat and go and stand in another queue.  For me, the best thing about Thorpe Park is the doughnuts
  • No such thing as a Free Lunch - Yes there is, I've seen the sign.  It says 'Buy One Get One Free'
  • Windsor Davies Group - The world would be a very different place if the welsh actor had been the eponymous member of this 1960s R&B Band.
    Biggest Hits: Keep On Running (Lovely Boy) & Gimme Some Lovin' (Shoulders Back, Show 'em off)

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Falling in Love Again

In 1982, a friend of mine played me a song he'd recently taped off the radio.
That song was 'Run To The Hills' by Iron Maiden.
It's fair to say that this changed my whole musical outlook.

Favourite bands at the time were The Jam, Human League and Ultravox - with a side-order of Slade

My appreciation of The Jam remained constant, but was now coupled with an equal fixation for all things Iron Maiden.
Basically I was a Heavy Metal Mod, a combined Mod and Rocker.  In the words of Ringo Starr, I was a Mocker.

The Iron Maiden fixation continued until 1990 and the release of 'No Prayer For The Dying'.  It was still Iron Maiden in all their bombastic pomp and glory, but it just didn't move me in the way they had before.
At this point me and Iron Maiden parted company.  Apart from the purchase of Fear Of The Dark in 1992 (I was going to Monsters Of Rock, Maiden were headlining and they were bound to concentrate on tracks as it was part of the tour in support of the album), no more Maiden product was added to the collection.

Until last week ...

Last Thursday was my birthday, and is is usual for such occasions I was presented with a selection of gift wrapped items.
One of the 5" square parcels contained CD copies of 'Powerslave' (Iron Maidens 1984 album) and 'The Final Frontier', their latest album released in 2010.

Listened to The Final Frontier this morning, and it was like the return of a long lost friend.
The sound and the song construction was familiar, and inspired me to go back and exhume the vinyl copies.  Because of the elapsed time since last listening, it all sounded fresh & new (in spite of the fact I could still remember all the words to the songs).  Even 'No Prayer For The Dying' (the album which caused the split) was an enjoyable listen.  It contains the single 'Holy Smoke' which is currently lodged in my head/ear and will not go away.

The next few Amazon orders are likely to be Iron Maiden-centric, and for the purpose of completeness the Blaze Bayley-years will be included

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Regional Accents

Regional accents dictate different pronunciations
For example:
glass and glass
grass and grass
raspberrry and raspberrry
tomato and tomato
potato and potato

Have noticed recently that more newreaders are applying 'local pronunciation' to place names.
Best example is Newcastle being spoken as Newcastle.
This also applies to international names - Afghanistan has been pronounced as Afghanistan

(Hang on? This doen't work when written down)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Vehicle Registration Plates

The '11' vehicle plates offer much humour with the potential 'personal' plates that can be had (well, its humourous to me anyway)

Registration       Personal Plate For
RO11 OVA      Dog owners
RO11 TME      Del Amitri fans
BU11 DOG      Beatles Fans
LU11 ABY       Anyone with a new baby
MU11 ETS       Someone who is stuck in the 80s
CA11 GAL       Lady who will visit you for something enjoyable
DO11 ARS       Donald Trump
TA11 EST        Stephen Merchant
BE11 IES          People of a "larger frame"
RO11 MOP      Lovers of pickled herring
WA11 IES        (I can think of a few candidates for this one)
DU11 ARD      (see above)
BE11 END       BMW Drivers

Several years ago, I changed my name to AHW 913V, just so I could have a personalised registration.
I sold the car within 6 months and then had to change my name again.

Monday, 4 July 2011

I read a book once - it was a blue one

Other than books read for exams at school, text books for college or instruction books for stuff (rarely do I read these - blokes don't read Instruction Books), my reading habits were limited to the point of virtual non-existence.

In the last 6 months or so, I have stopped buying a newspaper to read at work everyday and bought, borrowed or found some books to read during my lunchtime, or whenever else I feel like reading something (usually Saturday & Sunday mornings when no other bugger in the house is awake - just me, a book, a cup of coffee and some fags (or cigarettes if you're reading this in the USA of America)).

Buying a stash of new Books every 6 weeks or so is (as my dear wife1 informs me) is getting expensive.
The solution: a visit to the Charity Shop.

I've just bought 6 new books for the princely sum of £3 - cheap at half the price.  And I've given to charity without being mugged in the Town Centre by a do-gooder with a clipboard wanting my bank details for Direct Debit donations

These books will be consumed (ie read, not eaten) and will either be retained in the 'Library'2 or returned to the charity shop when I next stock up.

Key Points:

  1. Books are great - how come its taken me this long to realise?
  2. Support your local Charity Shop with both donations and purchases.  It would be a crying shame if the majority of what was in the shop I visited at the weekend were to end up in land-fill.
    "One mans rubbish is another mans Treasure"
PS The Charity Shop also had a stack of Vinyl, CDs & DVDs which warrant future investigation

1 Why is she referred to a "my dear wife"? Because she's expensive to maintain (boom boom tish)
2 I say 'Library' - in actual fact it is a series of shelves in various rooms, and the books will be inserted wherever there is a space.  Or (as is often likely) just piled on the floor of my office/den/crap hole of a room)

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Grow Your Own

I've only ever grown 2 things in my life.
1. A Beard - it was decidedly patchy with flecks of grey nestled in the dark stubble.  It looked bloody stupid, yet every holiday I am intent on growing my 'Holiday Beard'
2.  A Beer Gut - this is an ongoing project, and is tended to with care each and every weekend

So why have I got an Allotment?
Answer: I haven't.  The Allotment is the property of my wife - which means I have to assist with the care and horticultural activity.
So for nigh on a year I have been digging weeds, raking stones and erecting a fence for what?
I don't even eat vegetables, but I continue to assist for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, she's my wife and helping is part of the marriage deal, and secondly for the gift of Amazon vouchers & chinese food (not that I'm in any way mercenary).

Thing is, I'm always reminded of The Young Ones when they went all 'Good Life':
"We sow the seed, Nature grows the seed, and then we eat the seed"

To paraphrase (is that the right word?) Rick in this clip: What about CDs? What about Beer?  What about Takeaway Curry?  Can we grow any of that?
Sadly not, we don't have the correct seeds apparently

However - in answer to the Beer question, once the Allotment is all clear and established, I'm going to get some Hop plants and grow my own hops.  I will be brewing using my own hops, so it might not all be bad.

The bit I don't get about Allotments, or indeed gardening in general, is why would you want a weekend hobby that leaves you sitting on your sofa on a Sunday night nursing a bad back and feeling more shattered than you were when you finished work on Friday?

In Other News:
40 Pints of IPA have been bottled, and a 40 pint batch of Cider has been prepared.  Should now ferment for 7 days (or so) before bottling.

The musical accompaniment to this task: Sham 69
(I'm not going to write a long, drawn out missive about "Why 'The Adventures Of The Hersham Boys' is the great lost classic album of 1979".  (It is good though))

Friday, 24 June 2011

Shuffle - Good or Bad?

The Shuffle function on iPod, iTunes, iwhateverapplehasbroughtoutnow, or the Random function on Media Player or any jukebox/player, is the easy way to play music without having to select or plan what you're going to play.
The Library is already there, it contains stuff you know, so you're unlikely to be disappointeed by its output.

Shuffle effectively replaces the time and effort needed to create a mix-tape/mix CD.  But is that a good thing?

Guidance for creation of the perfect mix-tape is widely available, not least in 'High Fidelity'.

Mix-tapes (I still call them that, even though they are obviously on CD) tend to be produced either:
1. to show off new music & old favourites to friends
2. to catalogue the tunes that are currently "floating your boat"

In the case of item 1, I would go out of my way to find a host of relatively unheard tracks with the prime intention of introducing friends to great bands and songs they may not have heard (also know as 'showing off')

Item 2 is a real "this was where my head was at then" affair.  I recently found a box full of old tapes I'd made, and on listening to them re-discovered a series of lost/forgotten songs, and every so often hitting a "what the f**k was I thinking" moment.

I'm still making mix-tapes, usually every couple of months.  Its a whole lot easier know - you just drag the required files into iTunes or Media Player and the system tells you how long each song is and how much space there is left on the disk.

Years ago, making a mix-tape was a virtual science.  The process was:
  • identify the songs you want
  • find out the time of each track
  • sequence logoically
  • calculate the time used on each side of the tape (ie max 45 minutes) - remember: there is nothing worse than a song ending halfway through because you've run out of tape
  • re-sequence if necessary
  • record
  • listen back
  • re-sequence & re-record if required
The Shuffle function negates this process, but it also loses the flow/sequence of what you are listening to.
When making a mix-tape, you're unlikely to order it so that as a Motorhead track ends, it is immediately followed by Steeleye Spans 'All Around My Hat'.  No, you have to build the bridge between the songs, gradually slowing down and changing style.  With Shuffle, it will happen, and then be followed by Ram Jams 'Black Betty'.

Shuffle - it has a purpose, it does the job - but it can never replace the greatness of a perfectly sequenced mix-tape

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Cultural Metrication

Imperial measurements can no longer be used.

All imperial measurements must now be expressed as the metric equivalent.

The following must now be re-titled

Manic Street Preachers - 4st 7lbs => 28.6 kilograms
Tyrannosaurus Rex - One Inch Rock => 25.4mm Rock
Splodgenessabounds - 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please => 1.136 litres of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please
Proclaimers - 500 Miles => 804.7 kilometres
Free - Tons Of Sobs => 1,016 kg of Sobs
De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising => 0.914 metres High & Rising

Thousand Yard Stare => 914.4 Metre Stare
Gallon Drunk => 4.54 litre Drunk

One Foot in The Grave => Approximately 30cm in the Grave
The Green Mile => the Green 1.6km
44 Inch Chest => 111.7cm Chest
The Whole Nine Yards => The Whole 8.33 metres

Gregory Peck => Gregory 9.09 litres
Garry Bushell => Garry 36.4 litres

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Sex Pistols Day

More difficult than Beatles Day, as there is only one (official) album.  But what an album it is!

Holidays In The Sun - Album starts with the sound of marching and then a single chord, and the riff kicks in.  A simple yet effective 4 chord riff not dis-similar to The Jam's In The City.  Written after a visit to the Berlin Wall.

Bodies - Despite popular belief that the Pistols songs were "full of swearing", this is the only Sex Pistols song to contain the word "Fuck" (apart from 'Friggin In The Riggin').  Based on a true story of a fan visiting John carrying an aborted phoetus in a carrier bag

No Feelings - Another fantastic 4 chord riff, and a lyric which sounds extremely self-centred "I've got No Feelings, for anyone else, except for myself" (see also 'Problems').  Sid Vicious actually plays on this track, but his bass playing is so low in the mix you'd never know.

Liar - Is this McLaren again?  I don't think the band got on with their manager too well.  Great lyrics and a great vocal performance, but not a truly great song

God Save The Queen - Written in October 1976 and originally called "No Future".  The fact it was released in June 1977 under this title is purely coincidental (or more McLaren scullduggery?)
Contains the most powerful opening riff I have heard - Rock at it's best.

Problems - This turns the attention onto the listening audience.  To sum up: You've got a problem? So what - sort it out yourself ("Sex Pistols as a force for inspiration").  Memorable for the hypnotic chanting of "Problem" at the end of the song.  You hear it and you WILL remember it.

Seventeen - One of the bands early original songs, lyrically changed to have a pop at Malcolm McLaren ("You're only 29, got a lot to learn, but when your business dies, it will not return").
The chorus is "I'm a Lazy Sod" which some have suggested is my theme tune

Anarchy In The UK - First single, perfect introduction to the band and what they're about.  The fist version (produced by Dave Goodman) contains the opening statement "Vinyl Quotation Number 1", and (to me) is a better production than the album version.
Is it a manifesto? Is it a statement of intent? Is it a political comment?  No - its just a bloody good rock song.
Fancy a laugh? Listen to the lyrically confused Megadeth cover version

Submission - Another McLaren-baiting song.  Malcolm suggested the band write a song about bondage, John & Glen respond with "I'm on a submarine mission ..."
Not on the original pressing of the album, but later versions came with Submission on a one-sided 7" single insert.

Pretty Vacant - The most commercial Sex Pistols song.  The main riff is so simple, even I can play it.  Got mthe band shown on Top Of The Pops merely a month after the BCC banning of 'God Save The Queen'

New York - McLaren again - "An imitation from New York", "Four years on, You still look the same, I think its about time, You changed your brain, You're just a pile of shit, You're coming to this" - I'm sure they didn't get on with him that much at all.  Or is it a statement to The New York Dolls?  The lyrics fit equally as well.
New York Dolls/Sex Pistols trivia time: the white Les Paul played by Steve Jones once belonged to Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, and was given to Steve Jones (by Malcolm McLaren) in 1976.  Interestingly, ex-New York Doll Johnny Thunders later recorded a response to this song entitled "London Boys" with Paul Cook on Drums and Steve Jones on guitar.  Its a funny old cyclical world isn't it.

EMI - Self-referential story of the bands tenure with the institution that is (was?) EMI Records.
Last sound you hear is John blowing a raspberry - a memorable finish to a fantastic 40 minutes

As far as debut albums go, this is one of the best.
As far as all-time classic albums are concerned, this is a permanent member of the Top 10

The only other "official" release is the soundtrack to the Malcolm McLaren vanity-project that is 'The Great Rock n Roll Swindle'
The album does contain some original tracks, the best being Silly Thing, Lonely Boy, No One Is Innocent and the title track.  Tenpole Tudors' contribution (Who Killed Bambi & Rock Around The Clock) are enjoyable, yet equally disposable), but the rest is a collection of stuff just to fill up space.  Far too much filler, overdubbed demo recordings and alternative versions.

To continue the Pistols journey further, next stop is the solo/new band releases:

Public Image Limited are by far the most successful post-Pistols band, and are also a different proposition, not just an extension of the Pistols sound.
Its hard to listen to this album straight after NMTB.  Its much more experimental, and probably more influenced by the stuff John Lydon used to listen to than the Pistols (obvious example: Can) .  In fact when you play the first track, the immediate response after NMTB is "what the kin-ell is this?".  Persevere & listen again, it is a brilliant album.
Johnny Rotten is dead, Long live John Lydon

Rich Kids: The band Glen Matlock put together after his ousting from the Pistols.  The songs on their only album (Ghosts Of Princes In Towers) are great, just compromised by an extremely muddy production job by Mick Ronson

Professionals: Cook & Jones post-Pistols band and a continuation of the sound from 1978 onwards.  Their first album (due for release in 1979) remained unreleased due to royalty payment disputes with bassist Andy Allen.
It wasn't until 1981 that a Professionals album was released, and by this time their moment had gone.  Shame, because this album (I Didn't See It Coming) does contain some  truly great songs (The Magnificent, Kick Down The Doors, Just Another Dream & 123 being the best)

Sid Vicious: Sid Sings - Bloody awful!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

What is the point of ... ?

  • Disposable Barbecues
    Too small to cook enough for 4 people in one go
    Take twice as long to cook a sausage as grilling/frying in the normal way
    Too much smoke, not enough heat
  • Dermot O'Leary (or any TV Presenter turned radio DJ)
    Radio DJ and TV Presenter are two distinct activities - Radio to TV usually works, TV to Radio invariably ends in failure
  • +1 TV Channels
    The concept is good ('missed your favourite show? catch up with it one hour after original broadcast'), but surely this is the point of iPlayer (other variants are available).
    How long before +2, +12 or +1 Day channels appear to fill up the missing numbers on the tellybox?
  • Mowing the lawn
    Is there a more tedious pursuit?
    You walk along with your mower, and you just know that the sodding grass you've just cut behind you is already starting to grow again, meaning you're going to have to do it all again in a week/fortnight.
    I have a solution to this annoyance - concrete
  • Twitter
    The mini-sized social networking tool is used to immediately comment your feelings and thoughts your followers.  You are of course limited t

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Further signs of Grumpiness

When I was a kid, it was always amusing when my Grandad would argue with the telly.  This often used to happen during the News, and is now enshrined as part of family legacy (along with waking up in the middle of a game of Trivial Pursuit and answering someone elses question, and using his whiskey glass (still full) as a dice shaker)).

After the previous post on the subject, I have self-consciously noted my ever-growing curmudgeonly ways and can report that I now (pretty regulartly) argue with the TV, radio and newspapers

An Observation

OJ Borg is the presenter of the National Lottery show on BBC.
Surname of Borg?
Solid features reminiscent of Kryten in Red Dwarf?

His first name shouldn't be OJ, I believe it is CY.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Sgt Pepper is not a very good album

(The title alone should spark some debate (and/or hatred directed towards me))

To qualify the title: Sgt Pepper is a good album, but in comparison to the rest of The Beatles output I think its a bit lightweight.  It is however wholly redeemed by the inclusion of 'A Day In The Life'

Today has been 'Beatles Day', albeit in a slightly random order.  First off this morning was Rubber Soul followed by Revolver.  Then Beatles For Sale, and then the rest of the catalogue in chronological order.

Current favourite = Help! (Abbey Road is a close (very close) second)

A quick critique from 'Beatles Day':
Please Please Me - sounds like "just another album" until 'Twist & Shout' come along and places the whole album in context and you then realise the importance of what you've just heard

With The Beatles - More of the same

A Hard Days Night - All Lennon & McCartney originals.  Two immediate brain responses from listening to this album: (1) From the film, the band playing cards in the train carriage singing 'I Should Have Known Better' ("Aye Aye, the Liverpool Shuffle") (2) The Rutles signing 'I Must Be In Love' (as parodies go, The Rutles is exceedingly close to the real thing in terms of personality AND music (see also 'Get Up and Go' which was dropped from the original Rutles soundtrack for being too damned close to 'Get Back'

Beatles For Sale - Different sound (no longer just the 'Happy Mop Tops').  Fantastically moody picture on front cover ("very cool").  Definite sign of development from 'Hard Days Night' to 'Help' (which is probably when it was released when it was!)

Help! - Soundtrack to the film, which is a good film, if somewhat confusing (surreal?).  Contains two George Harrison songs which are pretty much equal to those of Lennon & McCartney.Some The Night Before

Rubber Soul - First album I listened to today because I realised of all the Beatles albums, this is the one I've listened to leaset.  I have no idea why?  Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, Girl, In My Life.  That's only 4 tracks - all 14 are great.  Note to self: stop ignoring this album.  Listen more!

Revolver - Free(ish) from touring commitments and live work, this album contains the beginnings of studio experimentation which would form the basis of the Sgt Pepper recording.  Fantastic collection of songs and styles and contains two of my favourite Beatles tracks: 'For No One' & 'And Your Bird Can Sing'

Sgt Pepper - (see above)

The Beatles (White Album) - Heavy Metal was invented with 'Helter Skelter', 'Revolution 9' gets on my tits, and 'Good Night' is a really weak song to end the "White Album Experience"

Yellow Submarine - Nice collection and soundtrack to the animated film.  Needs the animation to properly work but eminently listenable.  You really do have to be in the right mood to listen to the George Martin composed 'Pepperland Suite'

Abbey Road - if it wasn't for 'Her Majesty' the last we'd hear The Beatles say is "... and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love we make" - that's philosophy that is!

Let It Be - If this one had included 'Don't Let Me Down' it wouldn't be so disappointing.  mind you following Abbey Road would make just about anything sound disappointing?

Beatles Day is nearly over - tomorrow I will take a whistle stop tour of the solo years, starting I think with George Harrison's All Things Must Pass

Friday, 15 April 2011

Music and Pictures - The enduring link

Songs tend to be inextricably linked to a memory.
The use of songs in film or TV gives rise to another linked memory.
These are examples of the images immediately conjured up in my head when hearing the songs:

  • Wings - Jet = Alan Partridge jumping around his room at the Linton Travel Tavern
  • Ray Charles - Mess Around = Driving the car in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, before John Candy falls asleep at the wheel
  • Booker T & The MGs - Green Onions = Harry Hill miming playing a pretend organ (possibly on TV Burp, but not 100% sure)
  • Booker T & The MGs - Soul Limbo = BBC Cricket
  • Buddy Holly - Raining In My Heart = Heineken (or Carlsberg?) TV Advert from the 80s
  • Elvis Presley - Wooden Heart = Pledge TV Advert from the 80s

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

April 29th - There is a Wedding on or something

Plans for the end of April:
Thur 28th: CAMRA Beer Festival in Reading
Fri 29th: Day off work - avoid watching TV
Sat 30th: Wedding Anniversary - better buy a bunch of flowers or some such

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Getting Older & Being Annoyed By Trivial Stuff

Now I have passed the milestone age of thirty-ten (or 40 as my family like to keep reminding me), I find that I  am becoming increasingly annoyed by insignificant things.

A selection of insignificant stuff that annoys me:
  • Using Mobile Phones at tills.  It a pretty ignorant thing to do, and surely nothing is that important that you can't stop your conversation and talk civilly to the cashier, rather than just pointing at what you want, handing over your money, grabbing your change and walking out of the shop without exchanging a single word with the person who just served you
  • Peoples inability to make decisions.  Anyone can make a decision - flip a coin.  And there is no such thing as a "Wrong Decision"
  • Adding "... gate" to the end of any celebrity scandal.  If some garden furniture was stolen from the house of a 1970s British Childrens TV animator and film-maker, would it be reported in the papers as "Oliver Postgates Post & Gate-gate"
  • Daytime commercial radio and the same 17 songs played back to back for eternity
  • The use of Take That's "Rule The World" or "Greatest Day" on any TV show to signify someone has won something and/or overcome adversity to do so.  Similarly, is there a clause in Gary Barlow's contract that says whenever there is a charity appeal, one of his songs must be used?
I think I'm in danger of becoming the bloke on the Fast Show who considers everything to be Rubbish

Stuff you leave outside your house for collection once a fortnight - Rubbish

Monday, 21 March 2011

I don't like Downloaded Music

There just too impersonal.

Music buying (to me at least) is about the ownership of the physical artefact and making records you own - the memory of where records were purchased.

I can pretty much remember which shop in which town virtually all of my records and CDs came from.

  • Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
    Slightly overcast day in Hay-on-Wye.  Bought from a bookshop (is there any other kind of shop in Hay-on-Wye?)
  • Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks
    Bought from Pop Records (second hand record Shop in Reading (under Yeild Hall Lane Car Park))
  • Thin Lizzy - Live & Dangerous
    Bought from Our Price in the Butts Centre, Reading.  Got given two copies of Sides 3 & 4, and had to go to the Broad Street branch to exchange for Sides 1 & 2
  • Kate Bush - The Whole Story
    Bought from Boots with the money I'd got as Christmas tips from my paper round
  • T.Rex- Futuristic Dragon
    Bought from Woolworths when they were closing down for refurbishment.  I think they'd just cleared out the stock room and placed it in piles in the racks and on the floor.
I know where all the downloads came from - I was sitting here in this chair and pressed a button.

Amazon is convenient and easy, but does not have the same joy of trawling through racks of stuff to find the thing you've been hunting down for weeks (or even months).

With the demise of the independent record shop, the loss of large chains like Zavvi and Fopp (sorely missed every time I go into Reading (I just stand in West Street staring at what is now Somerfields with a feeling of loss)) and the laughable stock holding of HMV, Record Fairs are the only place where I can find a breadth of items and people who will sell them whilst advising me the "Track 2 is a bit of a stinker" or other gems of information which is an integral part of the purchasing process (at least to me)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Insignificant Things That Really Make Your Day

Been shopping at a local hypermarket (rhymes with Besco).
It was around lunchtime, so purchased some sandwiches.
Quite fancied the Egg & Tomato sarnie, plus it was reduced in price (not that I'm tight or anything)
Here's the insignificant "Day Making" bit:
Egg Sandwiches, made the proper way with Salad Cream, none of this fancy foreign Mayonnaise stuff.
Insignificant, unimportant, completely trivial, but Egg & Salad Cream Sandwiches are enough to make me smile, think that the world is not just a bad place, and show that sometimes Tesco is worthwhile visiting.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Pub Grub

Discounting Bar Snacks, most pubs offer a "cheap & cheerful" menu.  It is, after all, another income stream to supplement the Beer & Nuts money.
The Menus tend to be pretty much the same wherever you go.
The usual array of Fish & Chips, Burgers, Chicken, Scampi and Salads.  Steaks & Mixed Grills are also common place.
Add to this a selection of sandwiches/rolls/baguettes/sub rolls (same fillings, just different bread casings).

Some hostelries will offer 'Chef's Specials', so you may get Chinese, Thai or Indian (or Polish, depends where the chef was born))

Everything is served with Chips (or Jacket Potato if you wish) - why not Mashed Potato?

One dish (one of my favourites actually) I have never found on a Pub Menu is Shepherds Pie.

Why? Easy to prepare, easy to heat up.  And I'm willing to wager that it would sell by the bucket load (this is not a serving suggestion!)

Not just Pubs - the same applies to the "Feed The Family For a Fiver" places (Beefeater, Harvester, Sizzler etc)

Put Shepherds Pie on your Menus - You Know It Make Sense

Monday, 14 February 2011

New Crisp Flavour Proposal

Crisps are available in many flavours.
Beyond the obvious Cheese & Onion, Salt & Vinegar, Prawn Cocktail and Smokey Bacon, such delicacies as Tomato Ketchup, Worcester Sauce and Roast Ox are available.

I think there is one important flavour missing.

How do people absolve their guilt when tucking into a 10oz Steak and Chips?  A side Salad
What occupies about 80% of shop bought sandwich filling? Salad
Why do people go in such high numbers to a Harvester? Free Salad

Can you see the link?

Salad Flavour Crisps

The guilt free flavours of lettuce, tomato & cucumber whilst consuming deep-fried potato snacks

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Why is my brain full of this rubbish?

A recent conversation reminded me of the old playground card game Top Trumps
Brilliant game - used to have loads (Cars, Bikes, Military Jets, Fire Engines) but the sets I had most of were the football ones.
The conversation with my wife turned to all things Football Top Trumps, whereupon she was informed that:
- Kenny Daglish had the most international goals (18, only equalled by Don Givens)
- Brian Flynn was 5' 2" (in a Wales shirt), but in another pack has was 5' 3 and a half (in Leeds colours)
- John Cheidoze had only played 16 games
- Charlie George is in one pack as a Derby player, and another as a Southampton player (but the picture is the same)
- Allan Clarke is the best for League Goals as he has 201
and a whole load of other particularly useless information from the Football Top Trumps of 1978-1980.
Why do I still know this stuff?
Will it ever leave my brain?
There must come a point where no other stuff can fit in the grey matter, and when asked a question, I will reply with the 1981 Ipswich Town team (Cooper, Burley, Mills, Thijsen, Osman, Butcher, Wark, Muhren, Mariner, Brazil, Gates)
Two great sources of Football Top Trump (and other Football cards) information
I've wasted HOURS trawling through these two sites, and generally wallowing in nostalgia

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Re-make, Re-model

What is it with film & TV?  There seems to be, and has been for sometime, an awful lot (and some are awful) of re-makes of past offerings.

TV series Survivors from 1975 - re-imagined for the 21st Century
An attempt to revive Minder (starring Shane Richie)
Ealing Comedy 'The Ladykillers' remade by Hollywood starring Tom Hanks
Get Carter
The Italian Job

and the list goes on (Wikipedia - List of Film Remakes)

and now in 2011, two of the first major films of the year so far are: True Grit (first made 1969) and Brighton Rock (first made 1947)

Have TV & Film writers run out of ideas?
Are TV & Film commissioners unprepared to invest time & money in new ideas and happy to just go for the tried & tested of the past?
Can we look forward to a re-imagining of It Ain't Half Hot Mum in the next couple of years?
Will novelists soon be staring at blank manuscripts awaiting inspiration, and then decide to just copy Moby Dick, but update the references, setting & dialogue to give the "new" novel a 21st Century feeling?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

What is a Guilty Pleasure?

Guilty Pleasure is defined as: Something that you shouldn't like, but like anyway.

In reference to music, I believe it comes from Sean Rowley's regular club nights, and was originally a celebration of those great, sometimes borderline-naff, but generally forgotten songs (eg Starlight Vocal Band: Afternoon Delight, Brian Protheroe: Pinball, 10cc: The Things We Do For Love, Andrew Gold - Never Let Her Slip Away)

The Guilty Pleasure "franchise" has since expanded to include TV, Film, Books, indeed any form of media/entertainment/sport (or so it seems).

But, with this expansion appears to come mis-understanding of what it actually is.

Now it just seems to be an excuse to celebrate the extremely naff ("I listens to The Nolans - it's my Guilty Pleasure", "I watch 'Terry & June' - it's my Guilty Pleasure").

There is no such thing as a Guilty Pleasure, unless you are really worried about what others think of you so you have to a reason/excuse for listening to or watching what you enjoy.
A good song is a good song, a good film is a good film, good TV is good TV - there is no need to describe it as a Guilty Pleasure to justify your actions - if you like something, enjoy it.

Personally, I wouldn't usually listen to The Carpenters, but there is this one track ('Goodbye To Love') which has just about the greatest guitar solo in it.  Is it a Guilty Pleasure, or is it just a good song which should be recognised and celebrated as such?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Whos Next

Listened to this again yesterday - bloody good it is too.
Any album that starts with this:
Baba O'Reilly

and ends with this:
Won't Get Fooled Again

can't be that bad.  And the bits in-between are pretty good too

Friday, 21 January 2011

Brian Eno Cover Version Surprise

On another site which I regularly frequent (Word Magazine) a discussion took place regarding Bands/Artists that had never recorded a cover version.

With a great deal of confidence I posted the suggestion Brian Eno, who I believed had never done such a thing.
My suggestion was supported by The Covers Project which informed that: "No, Mr Eno has never recorded someone elses stuff"

But - I was wrong.  Brian Eno has recorded a cover version.  It was 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' and was released as a single in 1975

Having only recently become "Eno Aware" (I bought the first 4 albums in July last year), I don't think this would sound out of place on 'Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy'

Joke Of The Moment

There are only 10 types of people in this world - those that understand the binary system and those that don't

Jamie Olivers 30 Minute Meals

Dominos Pizza tend to guarantee a 30 minute delivery - but this probably wouldn't make good TV